Politics

Trump’s National Security Buildup Apparently Doesn’t Include Coast Guard

REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jessica Bidwell

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Thomas Phippen Associate Editor
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President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would cut $1.3 billion from the U.S. Coast Guard, which would “severely undermine U.S. national security,” according to one congressman.

“These proposed cuts, should they proceed, will guarantee negative consequences,” California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter wrote in a letter to Trump Thursday.

The budget guidance comes from the Office of Management and Budget, which proposed sweeping cuts to non-defense agencies across the federal government in order to fund a $54 billion increase in military spending. The Coast Guard, with its annual budget of $10 billion, doesn’t fall under the Department of Defense’s purview, but is managed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“Undoubtedly, America would be less safe based on the suggested recommendations of career bureaucrats positioned within OMB,” Hunter wrote.

The OMB guidance calls directly for the Coast Guard to cancel a $500 million contract for a 400-foot cutter from shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls, a move Hunter said would cost jobs and damage the Coast Guards ability to do its job.

“The termination of this contract is especially disconcerting when considered alongside the operational successes these assets have demonstrated, not to mention the hundreds of high paying American jobs that would be lost,” Hunter wrote.

The DHS will also need some additional funding to pay for initial outlays of cash to build the wall on the border with Mexico, which could cost $21 billion for the entire project, according to a DHS report obtained by Reuters earlier this month.

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